The decision to file for divorce is not one that a parent will make lightly. You will probably spend quite some time thinking about how the end of your marriage would affect your children and what it will mean to parent with your ex after a divorce.
Although you know it takes a lot of effort to parent your children, you may think that you will handle that responsibility best if you don’t have to share it with your ex. The idea of meeting for custody exchanges and needing to have discussions about whether your child joins a football team or goes to summer camp can prompt some parents to ask the courts for sole custody.
In some families, one spouse will voluntarily give up their rights in a divorce because they think it is what is best for the children. Other times, they will push back and asked for as much parenting time as possible. If you litigate custody matters in New Jersey, will the courts potentially award you full custody?
Sole custody is possible but relatively rare
There are situations in which the New Jersey courts decide that one parent will have nearly all of the parenting time and legal responsibility for the children. When there is evidence of abusive behavior, serious issues with addiction or a history of neglect, the judge may agree with a parent who claims that their request for sole custody is in the best interests of the children.
Still, a judge is unlikely to reach that conclusion without compelling evidence. Testimony from one parent likely won’t be enough the convince the courts to eliminate someone’s parenting time. Often, a parent who aggressively seeks full custody hurts their own case more than they damage their ex’s.
The courts try to focus on the well-being of the children
When a judge sees one parent trying to damage the relationship their ex has with the kids or deny their parenting time, those behaviors can make that parent seem like someone who puts their own feelings ahead of what is best for the children.
Such behavior could actually reduce someone’s time with the children. If you strongly believe that you need sole custody of your children, you need to have a reason that the courts would sympathize and documentation to support your claim. Otherwise, aggressively pushing for sole custody without a justification could negatively affect your custody case.
Learning more about how the New Jersey courts make custody decisions can help you avoid the more common pitfalls in this process.